Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
Matthew 5:42 (NIV)
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Luke 16:19-31 (NIV)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
In this parable the unnamed rich man rots in the fires of hell while a poor man who is named Lazarus and known by the great Jewish patriarch, Abraham, sits in heaven. Here Jesus is exposing our real need and the inhumanity that lurks in the depths of our hearts. When we fail to see the pain of others we are failing to see our own brokenness and need for salvation. When we stop caring we lose a little more of ourselves and slowly destroy ourselves. Jesus wants to give us everything we need so that our human dignity can be restored and we can begin to care again! When we let Jesus reign in our hearts, instead of slowly dying, a new person is being born. Jesus crossed the chasm to what only he could do… bring the dead back to life.